When I was in school, I was notorious for detesting summer vacations. I just hated them. I loved to go to school and be with my friends there, run around for teachers’ errands and plan for the projects etc. This ofcourse is a memory from as long as I can remember. I hated vacations for one very specific reason – ‘The Piled Up Homework’. How much so ever I tried to plan my homework distributing it equally across the weeks and days of the total span of vacations, I ended up distracted and highly digressed from the initial plan. My mathematics and science homework was invariably over within the first week of the vacations. Other subjects progressed slowly yet lingered on until the end. But the real pain in the neck was the art and craft assignments. I kept planning and planning, and planning, because I wanted to do something nice and unique. In the end with little time left, all my planning remained in my mind and I rushed to complete the assignments shabbily. Every year I resolved to work with better planning the next year and when the next year did arrive, I struggled with the same degree of agitation. Life has come a full circle now, because after almost 15 years I’m back to school; this time with my elder son Nik. Yes, this year Nik received his first ever set of summer vacation assignments. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time.
The question of how to approach the homework still is as intriguing as before. Whether to finish of everything as soon as possible and get done with it? Or to make an evenly distributed work plan to keep the kid busy across the days of vacation was still the question that nagged me for the first two days. There are pros and cons of both the approaches. While finishing off the homework as soon as possible gives time to later plan holidays with family or visits to family, cousins and friends, it possesses a risk of affecting the quality of your work. On the other hand, keeping work pending for later days of vacations keeps you on your tenterhooks because you always run a risk of unplanned distractions.
Keeping the preaching at bay, I was very clear that I wanted Nik to get through with the homework as soon as possible. I was in a position to take this call, because Nik is in pre-school and his doing his homework is as of now 100% a matter of my intervention.
Last year among other assignments, the most interesting assignment for my pre-schooler was the Shape Art. It was required of the parents to provide cuttings of various shapes in appropriate proportions and numbers and get the kids to paste the same in a manner so as to create comprehensive items such as – animals, landscapes, transportation mediums, household items etc. At first it seemed to me more of a homework for the parents than the kids. But when I began the assignment with Nik I realized the benefits of this activity. It was very satisfying to watch Nik do stuff on his own and looking up for help wherever he was stuck. Step by every tiny step my son is learning, growing and spreading his wings.
So yes, the first ever summer vacations homework comprising big and small assignments has been completed with absolute sincerity and enthusiasm. The first of this significant milestone – Done and Dusted! It is a long journey from here. Every year there will be more assignments and projects during the vacations. With every passing year my role as a facilitator will gradually diminish and transition into that of an advisor and appraiser. Yet I will cherish all of it with equal fondness.